With over 570,000 people displaced and over 14 million left in starvation, the Taliban’s coup has led to many refugees leaving Afghanistan for the US in search of humanitarian aid.
“The Afghan refugees, particularly children, many of whom have been personally and directly impacted by the realities of war, need to be cared for,” history teacher Ross Bosse said.
Since Aug. 28, over 8,600 Afghan refugees have arrived at the Dulles International Airport and were sent to hospitals throughout Northern Virginia, such as INOVA Fairfax Hospital to treat PTSD symptoms, according to the Washington Post. Fairfax County Public Schools executive director Bryan J. Hill assisted with the transportation process for over 219 Afghan refugees.
“It is important that our community helps as many of the refugees provided critical support to the United States during the war,” sophomore Grace Olander said. “It is the least our [community] can do.”
Student groups at school are looking for ways to assist the refugees. The Muslim Student Association (MSA) is a club that provides a community for Muslim students to meet and connect with others. To support the Afghanistan crisis, they plan to conduct fundraisers, partner with relief and humanitarian organizations and raise awareness.
“MSA will welcome all Afghan refugees into the club to hopefully help them better [adapt] to their new surroundings and help them feel more at home,” MSA president senior Ayham Elayan said.
Furthermore, other clubs such as the Human Equal Rights Organization(H.E.R.O) are looking for students who speak Pashto or Dari, languages spoken in Afghanistan, to help translate for refugee students at school to help them adjust to their new setting. H.E.R.O. also collects materials such as school supplies and food to give to the refugees.
“You can help out by donating house, cooking and school supplies to local organizations, or even help find job opportunities for any refugees,” Elayan said.
Also, Junior Students of America (JSA) focuses on civic engagement and political activism. This includes presenting and debating ideas and facts and using critical thinking to explore all sides of an issue. They are also discussing the Afghanistan crisis events and the impact of them on the Afghanistan refugees.
“JSA is a charitable organization and will do our part accordingly,” Olander said. “Our primary goal is to help refugees in our immediate area.”
With the current conditions back in Afghanistan, as a result of the Taliban insurrection, these refugees will not be able to return to their country for a period of time. Specifically, many institutions in Virginia, including Islamic Center of Virginia, Commonwealth Catholic Charities, International Rescue Committee, are providing homes and jobs for these refugees.
“We can all support Afghan refugees through small efforts,” Elayan said. “Welcoming arms and smiles may just be all they need to feel hopeful about their futures in America.”